The stagnation is deafening.
Then some menacing
Nudists walk past
Laughing, which doesn’t
Affect the stagnation.
I hold out my hands,
Palms turned down,
And rain rains from them,
Which affects the stagnation
But not much.
Here come the nudists
Again, wielding
Tire irons and saps.
The wind kicks up,
Affecting the stagnation.
The rotary clothesline
Starts spinning to beat hell,
Clothes like garish,
Terrified clowns—
Did you ever notice
How easy it is
To terrify clowns?
They’re already crying
Before the fun
Clinging to the rotors
Of a Navy helicopter
Whose fuselage
Is camouflage—
The desert kind—
Whose rocket
Launchers are loaded,
Whose orders are
Anybody’s guess.


James Galvin’s seventh book of poems is due out from Copper Canyon next year. He has also written two books of prose, which have been published by Henry Holt. When he isn’t in Wyoming, where he has some land and some horses, he teaches at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

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